The 8-4 Saskatchewan Roughriders took the field in Canadian Football League action on Sunday looking for their ninth win of the season, and for the fourth week in a row left the field still in search of the elusive victory after falling to the 4-8 Montreal Alouettes , 17-12.
Without CFL leading rusher Kory Sheets in the lineup, the Rider offense was not been able to mount anything that would resemble a rushing threat against the Alouettes and that allowed the Montreal defense to sit back in coverage against quarterback Darian Durant, which resulted in the Rider QB being picked off three times on the day. Durant is clearly feeling the pressure of leading an offense that has no rushing options. Saskatchewan went to the air on 46 of the Riders 55 offensive snaps Sunday after passing on 52 of 66 plays in the loss to BC the week before.
Durant was 24-of-46 for 339 yards and a touchdown against Montreal, but the three interceptions were the difference in the outcome. When your leading rusher totals nine yards on five carries, and the team totals 15 yards on nine attempts, the D can sit back in coverage and force the type of mistakes that Durant made Sunday.
The Rider defense played a solid game, allowing Josh Neiswander 264 yards passing and a TD on 21 completions in 36 attempts, and 83 yards on 17 rushing attempts.
The difference was turnovers (Riders -2) and field position, both of which were a direct result of the failure to establish any kind of a rushing threat.
The highlight of the game for Saskatchewan came when Geroy Simon became the CFL’s all-time career receptions leader, surpassing former Allouettes receiver Ben Cahoon. The 15-year CFL veteran pulled in his 1,018th reception during the first quarter of Sunday’s game.
CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon congratulated Simon, a product of Maryland that has spent his entire career with the Riders, and said that he is a “superb talent, valued teammate, consummate professional and now, one of the all-time greats.”
The Roughriders (8-5-0, 3-2-0) have now lost four in a row after going 8-1 in the first nine games, and find themselves trailing both the BC Lions (9-4-0, 4-1-0) and Calgary Stampeders (10-3-0, 4-2-0) in the West Division.
Head Coach Corey Chamberlin said after the game that “We kept the game close, but we have to start winning these games. We can’t be close and lose, we have to start winning, but we are just a play or two away again from turning a loss into a win.”
Saskatchewan faces a must win game this Friday when they take on BC on the road. A loss would extend the slide to five, while dropping the Riders to two games behind BC, and at least two back of Calgary.
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